HOT AIR

THE (MOSTLY) TRUE STORY OF THE FIRST HOT-AIR BALLOON RIDE

On September 19, 1783, thousands of people visited Versailles to witness the launching of the Montgolfier brothers’ new-fangled hot-air balloon. “Ballooning’s first brave passengers,” as it turns out, were a duck, a sheep and a rooster. Priceman sets the stage for this historic event in the funniest, breeziest way imaginable, imploring readers to pay no mind to the hows and whys but instead to focus on the brave passengers, hilariously depicted as bug-eyed with fear, shown from above as the balloon goes up, up and away. From here on out, the book is almost wordless, presenting the trembling trio in comic strip–like panels as the barnyard animals become entangled in flyaway laundry and encounter various dangerously pointy objects, from a boy’s mischievous arrow (it proves helpful later) to a church spire (softened by an aforementioned sock) to the sharp-beaked bird who ultimately sends them spiraling. Priceman’s wonderful, vivacious black-ink and watercolor paintings—packed with comical details—add motion and buoyancy to an already soaring tale of a historic hot-air balloon ride. (author’s note, brief history of Montgolfier’s balloons) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-689-82642-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Anne Schwartz/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 32

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

Did you like this book?

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his...

GRUMPY MONKEY

It’s a wonderful day in the jungle, so why’s Jim Panzee so grumpy?

When Jim woke up, nothing was right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet." Norman the gorilla asks Jim why he’s so grumpy, and Jim insists he’s not. They meet Marabou, to whom Norman confides that Jim’s grumpy. When Jim denies it again, Marabou points out that Jim’s shoulders are hunched; Jim stands up. When they meet Lemur, Lemur points out Jim’s bunchy eyebrows; Jim unbunches them. When he trips over Snake, Snake points out Jim’s frown…so Jim puts on a grimacelike smile. Everyone has suggestions to brighten his mood: dancing, singing, swinging, swimming…but Jim doesn’t feel like any of that. He gets so fed up, he yells at his animal friends and stomps off…then he feels sad about yelling. He and Norman (who regrets dancing with that porcupine) finally just have a sit and decide it’s a wonderful day to be grumpy—which, of course, makes them both feel a little better. Suzanne Lang’s encouragement to sit with your emotions (thus allowing them to pass) is nearly Buddhist in its take, and it will be great bibliotherapy for the crabby, cranky, and cross. Oscar-nominated animator Max Lang’s cartoony illustrations lighten the mood without making light of Jim’s mood; Jim has comically long arms, and his facial expressions are quite funny.

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-53786-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

more